This was my 5th cruise with Carnival. My first was on the Fantasy class Elation, 2nd on Spirit class Spirit, 3rd on Conquest class Conquest, 4th was back down to the Fantasy class Ecstasy and this time on the Dream class Magic. I've decided that I am not a fan of the bigger ships. I really do not see that they have any more activities than the smaller ships and added attractions like the Sky Course and Watercourse just aren't that important to me since I don't have kids and am in my 50's. What is important is good service, decent food and a crew that seems to enjoy what they do.
My cabin was an 8B category balcony that was situated in the middle of several Ocean Suites. I can say that my room steward was the best I've had on a bigger ship. She was available at all times and always had a great attitude. After reading several reviews and comments about cabins not being clean I went through mine to see if there was any truth to what I had read. I did not find a spot of dust, lint or anything else. Basically it was spotless and seemed to magically return to that state every time I left the cabin.
The three meals I ate in the main dining room were for Brunch and I had excellent service 2 out of the 3 times. I had anytime dining and never managed to make it there for dinner so I can't comment on anything there. I did look over each night's menu and really didn't see anything that I hadn't already had on previous cruises. I did notice that the attire for formal night was a bit more relaxed than the other cruises I've been on. Most men had suits on or were at least wearing a tie. Women were in basic black dresses or had on something sparkly. Room service was hit and miss out of the 4 times I ordered it the meal arrived without silverware. Hard to eat yogurt, cereal and chocolate cake with your fingers. Lido deck had the same old stuff. Filling but not necessarily fantastic. I did like the pay for items at the Red Frog Pub and the wait staff is excellent. The Steakhouse was a bit of a disappointment but only because the service was lacking. I never got the coffee I asked for and they only seemed to be interested in giving some sort of wine as a drink option. We had to ask for cracked pepper after seeing it offered to the couple next to us.
Casino staff was pleasant and the manager did send chocolate covered strawberries to my cabin as a thank you for gambling away quite a bit of money. Not a fan of the way the casino is laid out regarding smoking and non smoking areas. Doesn't seem to make sense around the tables.
The cruise director James Dunn was out and about more than any other CD I've had except Butch. Friendly guy who always said "hi" and didn't seem to mind stopping for pictures with passengers. Activities and shows were average for Carnival but he did a good job with Halloween and setting up different things around the ship. His immediate staff seem to share his enthusiasm for their jobs which is a good sign. The waiters and other more service oriented staff didn't seem as happy about their jobs. The three that I had a chance to chat with were on the ship all 7 days without any port time off. That was another thing that I noticed on this cruise, I like to find out about the staff and their home countries. Usually they are very happy to share with me but it was like pulling teeth this time. It was almost like they have been told not to talk.
I didn't go to any of the shows but did enjoy both comics I saw. Missed the last two but heard that they were pretty good to. Dive In Theater looked like fun but I never settled down enough to watch one of the movies.
I had purchased FTTF and would have really liked it if the ship had not been coming in from Belize. It is true that it take longer for previous passengers to disembark so I don't think we got the full advantage of boarding earlier. I did like going to my cabin immediately on boarding and getting off the ship sooner at disembarkation. You get to go with Zone 1 so you don't have to wait around all morning sitting on the ship with nothing to do.
I'm not a picky cruiser and I'm just happy to be on the boat but I think that I do prefer a smaller boat. The Magic is a big boat and requires a lot of walking to get from point A to B. As I get older that becomes more of a consideration. It wasn't the best I've been on but it wasn't the worse. I think it's probably a great boat for families with kids because the kids seem to be having a great time. I will probably sail her again but that is only because Galveston is so much easier for me to get to.